Murder Most Foul, a new Steampunk adventure.

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A while ago, I wrote a short story, set in my Steampunk world of Aserol. It was an idea that I’d had buzzing around in my head for some time, about a crime on a quiet street that led to so much more than just a victim and a perpetrator.

It felt like there was a rabbit hole of possibilities to dive into, if I ever took it further.

Readers of my Steampunk novels will know that the two big themes in all of them are the power of the underdog and the way that a society develops when the things we take for granted (Oil and Electricity) are not there.

My Steampunk titles

Anyhow, I had the short piece, it ended up at about a thousand words. I submitted it to a publication on Medium, The Kraken Lore, where I’ve been sharing a few of my short stories.

They accepted it and asked me if it was the start of a series.

Now I hadn’t considered doing that straight away. The idea could certainly be developed but as far as I was concerned, it was just another on the list of pending projects that I would get around to, one day.

I really only wanted to see if it might get some interest before I spent a lot of time on it.

Clearly, the editor of the publication liked it and thought his readers might. So, I was faced with a dilemma.

The idea of writing a chapter a week, of an idea that wasn’t even fully formed was daunting, to say the least. Not only that, I know how my mind works, I might not get any more inspiration on the idea and that would leave me with an onrushing deadline and a blank page.

Not a good look.

However, the thing I’ve found, since I started writing on Medium, is that the way I write has changed. I’m settling into the rhythm of the platform and even writing in styles that I would never have considered, like poetry or Drabbles (100-word flash fiction stories based on prompts).

The great thing about writing short stories or even episodic series is that a lot of the action can be condensed. Also, there is less of a requirement to go into the depth of detail that a novel demands.

So I thought, why not, if I could get a few chapters under my belt and give myself a bit of a buffer, I might just as well say yes.

I agreed to provide a series and got writing. So far, it’s working. I’m keeping three weeks ahead of the publication schedule, ideas are flowing and a new episode is ready when it needs to be.

Two episodes have now been published. about ten more are in various stages of completion. As yet, I have no idea what will actually happen, as if that ever mattered.

Long may it continue.

You can start the series here,

Here’s a short glimpse from Chapter One.

A man came towards him, hatless and walking fast. As he neared, he saw that his necktie was askew, the front of his suit stained with what looked like grease, glistening in the reflected gaslight. It was Archibold Hesketh, a prominent local businessman. Where could he be going, wondered Silas, in such a dishevelled state?

“Good eve, Mr Hesketh,” Silas said. The man merely grunted and pushed past him.

It was unlike Hesketh, who was normally polite and talkative. He must have some problem on his mind. Silas was about to ask him his business when he saw a shape under an unlit lamp. Crossing the road, he found Daniel, the lamplighter. He was unconscious and obviously the worse for wear.

Quickly Silas checked the prostrate body, and while there was no blood, he could see that a large lump was forming on the man’s shaved head. Silas turned to call Hesketh, he hoped that he could ask him to provide his mobile to take the man to the infirmarium.

But Hesketh had vanished around the corner and out of sight. Silas went to the nearest gatehouse, as he knew an old sailor called Mulhern lived there. He was in service to a Doctor…what was his name? Ah yes, Alpern.

“Mulhern,” he called as he knocked on the door, “’tis Silas. There’s a man hurt here. Can you call your master?”

Within minutes, Alpern was on the scene, with his black leather bag opened on the ground beside the body. “He’s alive,” he said. “Perhaps I can revive him.”

He opened a small glass bottle. Silas caught a sharp odour. “These are ammonium salts,” the doctor said, “so they induce a bronchial spasm, which may waken him.”

Daniel groaned and twisted at the smell. “Murder,” he muttered. “Murder most foul.”

“Who, where?” asked Silas, momentarily shocked at the lamplighter’s words.

“At the Hesketh residence,” muttered the man. Much revived now, he clutched at the Watchman’s arm with bony fingers. “I saw through the window, a woman was bludgeoned with a clockwork spring box.”

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